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What Amazon can teach you about owning your audience [or not]

Imagine not knowing who your customers are.

You know people have bought your products, but not their names or contact details. That’s a prospect that businesses using Amazon to sell and distribute their products face and it should teach us all a lesson about the importance of building and, more importantly, owning our audience.

Last weekend’s Sunday Times reported that, from 8 April, Amazon will no longer share the names and addresses of consumers who buy products from the independent businesses which use the platform to sell and deliver their products.

Think about that for a minute.

Your business sells (for example) men’s fashion, using Amazon to sell and deliver your products. But from April you won’t know who has bought them. The implications for your future marketing are huge; no building a database of loyal customers you can send special offers to, no upsells, and no brand building.

The change is a stark reminder that all businesses, including those who don’t use Amazon, need to build and, crucially, own their audience.

Audience size drives growth

We’ve been able to grow The Yardstick Agency (and I say this to prove a point, not as an idle boast) in part because, when we started in 2017, we had a large database of financial advisers and planners.

Every Friday at 7.30 am we send our weekly blog to that audience. The aim is threefold; to add value, to help advisers/planners improve their marketing, and to generate new enquiries.

The message should be clear; businesses that build and own their audience will:

  • Grow faster
  • Spend less money on other marketing tactics
  • Face fewer risks because no one can take their audience away.

Of course, there are other ways of building an audience. Social media is the obvious alternative and we’d never suggest that channels such as Facebook or LinkedIn aren’t important. They are. But things change with these platforms. In contrast, your database of clients and prospects can never be taken away from you.

Building an audience ultimately means doing two things:

  1. Collecting their email addresses (while complying with GDPR legislation)
  2. Communicating frequently and adding value.

We’ve written extensively in the past (and will do in the future) about how to communicate with your audience. So, for now, we want to focus on how to build your audience.

Three simple ways to build an audience

1. Collect data for all new enquiries

Generating new enquiries isn’t easy and, in most cases, fewer than half immediately become clients. So, it always amazes me that many advisers and planners don’t record new enquiries.

Recording these 12 key data points for all new enquiries helps to build an audience of prospects. If you don’t record their data and continue to nurture them, you waste the money you’ve spent generating the enquiry.

So, job number one is to ensure that processes are in place to ensure that data for every new enquiry is captured and added to your communications database.

2. Converting website visitors

Traffic levels to your website should grow over time. To build your business you need a proportion of these people to enquire about your services. If they don’t do that, the second-best is that they agree to become part of your audience. There are three key ways to do that:

  1. Newsletter sign-ups – this acts as a simple way for consumers to stay in touch with you if they’re not quite ready to enquire about your services.
  2. Live chat – where you can start a conversation and gain agreement for them to be added to your database.
  3. Gated downloads – for example guides, which visitors can only download by leaving their contact details (that said, the bigger your audience gets, the less I like this tactic).

 3. Run lead magnet campaigns

Recording enquiry data and asking people to sign up for your newsletter will grow your audience size over time. However, running lead magnet campaigns will turbocharge its growth.

At a basic level lead magnet campaigns are simple. You run adverts on social media giving away valuable content, for example, a guide or an online quiz, in return for the consumers’ data; name, email address and telephone number.

Of course, you still need to add value and nurture these people. But, run well, with the right content on the right platform, lead magnet campaigns are the quickest way to build an audience.

Nurture your audience by adding value

Building your audience is only half the job. You need to nurture them and add value so that, over time, you become the go-to expert. That’s a blog for another day though. Right now, we simply want to impress upon you the importance of building and owning your audience.

Firms who invest resources into doing both those things will reduce risk and grow their businesses more quickly.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you build your audience through lead magnet campaigns, please email [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300.

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